red cedar driftwood? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-16-2014, 01:16 AM Thread Starter
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red cedar driftwood?

ok so i found out that my driftwood that i found was actually red cedar. I have been reading some stuff saying that it is toxic to fish and animals, but i have also read that if it is a very old peace that it is ok so i just want to know what ui guys think before i use it. This peace of wood is at least a 45year old peace of driftwood as my grandma found it at a spring in the water when my mom was 7 and she is 52years old now. I did boil it for 4 hours on each side for two days so a total of like at least 10hours of boiling and there was tannins in it and i tryed to get most them out. After doing this i put it in my tub and soaked it for 3days with steaming water that stayed hot the hole time wince i kept plastic rap over it. After about 3days i checked the water for tannins and there was none at all so i am guessing that most of the tannins are out but i am going to do one more 2day boil if it is safe to use which i really hope is the case as it is just a great peace.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-16-2014, 08:16 AM
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Ask yourself this question, are you willing to put your tank at risk just to use a piece of driftwood that you know can have issues?

Personally, I'd opt to use something else that I know will be safe. No need to introduce another factor into keeping your tank going.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-16-2014, 12:22 PM
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They recommend not using any kind of evergreen for driftwood they have sap that is bad for fish. I don't think cedar is good for hamsters either. You can order safe driftwood on the web and some lfs have it.

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-16-2014, 12:55 PM
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Sure is a nice piece!

The aging, first outside in all kinds of weather, then the boiling seems to have taken out the tannins, and that is an indication that it has probably also broken down any other products that may be harmful or toxic.

I think I would try it with just a few fish. If there is any hint that they are not doing well (when you know all other issues are taken care of) then assume the wood is the cause, and get them out of that water. Don't use the wood.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-16-2014, 01:18 PM
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does it still smell like cedar? Is there a piece you can cut off?

If you cut it, and it still smells like cedar, than I wouldn't recommend using it. After a quick googling I've read that chemicals (phenols) that give cedar its pleasant aroma, that also keeps away bugs, moths, etc, is what's toxic. So, if your cedar smells like cedar, don't use it.

but, based on this reply from Tom Barr, it should be just fine to use considering the age:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...41&postcount=5


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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-16-2014, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Sure is a nice piece!

The aging, first outside in all kinds of weather, then the boiling seems to have taken out the tannins, and that is an indication that it has probably also broken down any other products that may be harmful or toxic.

I think I would try it with just a few fish. If there is any hint that they are not doing well (when you know all other issues are taken care of) then assume the wood is the cause, and get them out of that water. Don't use the wood.
I agree. After that I would try it with some fish that are hardy and make sure it not toxic.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-16-2014, 02:48 PM
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Totally safe!!! When speaking of cedar that is that old, there is one point that many miss. New cedar has sap in it. It is a wood that is very slow to lose the sap and that makes it good for decks and fences. But even the slowest wood does lose the sap eventually. Once the sap is gone, it is much the same as any other totally dry wood.
Experience using cedar tells me it is safe when done right.
A cedar slab?


A cedar stump?


I've got lots more pictures of cedar in tanks but then I don't think you really want that, do you???
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-16-2014, 02:52 PM
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I had red cedar fence pickets in my garage, while the fumes smell nice at first it made me loopy after a while. 45 years is well degraded/aged, as long as it doesn't smell.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-16-2014, 03:35 PM
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As long as the diatoms and algae on the holey rock doesn't bother them, the cedar snag is fine with week old yellow lab and yellow tailed acei fry! Actually I find they like the algae! Can't think of fish that are less "hardy" than week old fry?
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-16-2014, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
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i had already cut it two days ago. I think after what u guys described that it will be just fine because when i cut it u could not smell anything and before i thought it was just a red cypress, but after i cut it i decided that i wanted to see if it had a smell and since i didnt smell anything at all while cutting it i pretty much shoved my nose into the spot that i cut and it had a very faint smell of cedar. Im guessing since it took my nose pressed up against it to even barley smell it that it will be just fine than =). I have had manzanita wood and also some other types for a turtle tank and even those had a stronger smell after a fresh cut. I also just read that if i use active carbon it will also detoxify the water as it would if u were trying to treat a fish with chemicals so i guess i need carbon which shouldnt be a problem at all =)
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-16-2014, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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also i would think that if it still had the bad oils in it that they would be visible in the water after boiling but no signs of this ether.
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-17-2014, 12:50 AM
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You are right.
AC will help.
Having to put your nose right up to a fresh cut to smell anything at all is a good sign.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-17-2014, 12:52 AM
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If you didn't smell anything on a fresh cut, then it's probaby safe. Whatever was in there has likely been leached out by rain, or just broken down over time.
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-17-2014, 12:53 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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You are right.
AC will help.
Having to put your nose right up to a fresh cut to smell anything at all is a good sign.
does it matter if i where i put the activated carbon in the canister filter?
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-17-2014, 02:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
Totally safe!!! When speaking of cedar that is that old, there is one point that many miss. New cedar has sap in it. It is a wood that is very slow to lose the sap and that makes it good for decks and fences. But even the slowest wood does lose the sap eventually. Once the sap is gone, it is much the same as any other totally dry wood.
Experience using cedar tells me it is safe when done right.
A cedar slab?


A cedar stump?


I've got lots more pictures of cedar in tanks but then I don't think you really want that, do you???
+1, had a large red cedar driftwood in my 55g when I had a pleco in there (a species taht will rasp on wood) totally safe. Was very old wood, had no smell to it when added to tank, and NEVER gets water logged (must be weighed down) was still buoyant after a 18 months as it was the day i got it (had it screwed to a rock).
Sniff it for cedar smell, boil if you can or try cooking in oven on lowest power (put cookie sheet(s)below to catch sap to avoid a mess and keep a close eye on it!) see if it leeches sap. If its a fresh cut and still strong cedar smell don't put it in.

If your cedar is from the ebay seller in Tennessee (won't list name but they sell a ton of driftwood, abut 50%+ being red cedar) they fish it out of a water source where its been submerged 60+ years from a man made damn (according to the seller). I got mine from them.

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